Clay Travis: Phil Mickelson In Trouble For Comments That NBA, Others Get Away With In China Relationship

PGA Tour legend Phil Mickelson is in hot water over his recent comments concerning the Super Golf League (SGL), backed by Saudi Arabia.

Author Alan Shipnuck published an excerpt last week for his upcoming biography of Mickelson, in which the six-time Major champion said he was looking past the Saudis' human rights violations in order to gain leverage with the PGA Tour. Mickelson has been outspoken against the PGA Tour for its greed and has threatened to join the upstart SGL.

"They're scary ... to get involved with," Mickelson said. "We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

Mickelson faced backlash from many of his fellow colleagues on Tour, including Rory McIlroy, who called Mickelson's comments "naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant." KPMG also ended its relationship with Mickelson over his comments.

OutKick's Clay Travis called out the fact that the NBA and other companies haven't been criticized for their dealings with China amid the ongoing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs. The difference, Travis said, is that Mickelson was open about it -- and that's why he's facing an uproar.

"So Phil Mickelson is in trouble for saying out loud he was willing to negotiate with a country with human rights issues, despite the fact that many athletes and leagues do the exact same thing, but keep it quiet?" Travis tweeted Wednesday. "In other words, Mickelson’s in trouble for saying the quiet part out loud.

"Nike, the NBA, Apple, all of them do the same thing with China that Phil was considering doing with Saudi Arabia. They just keep quiet about it and rely on idiots not to notice."

Mickelson has since apologized for the comments, releasing a statement via Twitter Tuesday.

"I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public," Mickelson wrote. "My intent was never to hurt anyone and I'm sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of doubt."

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Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.